Saturday, December 29, 2012

Baby Face Friday: 4 months

Weight: 15lbs 110z
Height: 25 inches
Sleep: Sleeping thru night for the most part except for the few times she wakes up and needs a little encouragement (i.e. the pacifier) to go back to sleep.

What is Eloise doing?
Rolling over - tummy to back & back to tummy
Grabbing at anything she can. 
Playing in the bathtub - kicking her legs and reaching for a toy

"This blanket is so soft.  I wonder what it tastes like..."

At Daycare, all the kids have a poster in their room with photos of their families.  When Eloise's teacher, Ms. Vicki, told me about the poster that first week I thought I had to make it.  I was actually looking forward to making it and scoped out the other posters in the room.  They all had similar styles so I figured that I would follow the "pattern."  Turns out, the teachers make the posters for their kids and all I was supposed to do was bring in the photos.  Oh well.  I had fun making the poster!

Eloise's 1st Christmas

We kicked off our Christmas celebrations first with Grandpa Jim
On Christmas Eve, we celebrated at Grandma Sandy & Grandpa Mike's House.
We attempted a Cousins picture with the 3 girls and here is what we ended up with... 
No one said it was easy to get a 3.5 year old, 20 month old, & 4 month to look at the same time!
 Reesie giving kisses
We had a laid back Christmas morning...
 Later on during Christmas Day, we celebrated at Grandma Karen & Grandpa Kevin's House

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baby Face Friday: 16 Weeks

Weight: 15lbs 4oz
Height: 24inches...roughly
Sleep: Started sleeping unswaddled and just in a sleep sack

What is Eloise doing?
Rolling over!  She did once at daycare this week and twice at home for mom & dad.

Battling her first cold.  Thank God for Boogie Wipes & Humidifiers.  

Look who is ready for Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Baby Face Friday: 15 Weeks

Weight: 15lbs
Height: Getting long...we have to get out the tape measure
Sleep: Adjusting well to getting up early to go to daycare & still sleeping thru the night.  Her naps are a little off but she will get into a rhythm soon enough.

What is Eloise doing?
Trying so hard to roll over.  We just stare at her waiting for it to happen.  
Everything is in the mouth - gross. 

Highlights from this week:

Baptized on Sunday 12.9.12

Mom went back to work on Monday & Eloise started daycare.  It was a rough first day for Mom.  I cried...more than once. Eloise did great all week long except for picking a little cold.  

Here is Eloise in her crib at daycare taking a nap.  

Mom comes to visit Eloise during lunch and sometimes Grandma Karen joins us.  I even get to feed her if I time it right. 
Santa came to daycare on Friday to see all the kids.  
Every kid got their picture taken with Santa and a gift. 

God Bless Eloise Joy

Eloise was baptized on Sunday December 9th at St. Michael's in Wheaton.  She slept through the whole service and only startled slightly when the water was poured on her head.  She shared her baptism with another little girl who was actually born on the same day at the same hospital. 
 Proud Godparents: Uncle Bob & Aunt Laura

 Brad & Grandpa Jim
 Brad, Grandma Sandy & Grandpa Mike
Grandma Karen, Grandpa Kevin, & Great Grandma Fitz

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baby Face Friday: 14 Weeks

Weight: 14lbs 11oz
Height: 24 inches
Sleep: Good Sleeper
What is Eloise doing?
Getting ready to start daycare on Monday...

Eloise's Great Grandma Marie has been battling cancer for many years along with various other ailments for some time and was placed on Hospice on Friday 11/30.  This past Sunday 12/2 we celebrated Great Grandma Marie's 81st Birthday. Surrounded by her children, grandchildren, & great grandchildren, we celebrated her birthday with pink balloons, pizza, & canoli cake.  We showered her with a few gifts and lots of hugs & kisses.  Just days later, we were all together at her bedside as she started to decline rapidly.  Eloise even gave her Great Grandma some big smiles that night.  Sadly, we lost Marie on her 81st Birthday, December 6th.  Eloise was lucky enough to meet Marie and receive some of her great hugs that I grew to look forward to over the years.  I will cherish the memory of the moment that I brought Eloise to meet Marie for the first time forever.  Both of their faces lit up as if they already knew how much the other one loved them.  When I first met Brad and my mom asked me about him, I told her that he is very family-oriented and loved his family more than words could describe.  I saw this love when I saw Brad interact with his Grandma over the years.  The two of them would laugh about the craziest things and she was probably the only person in the family who could render him speechless at times.  I hope Eloise grows up to love her grandparents as much as Brad loved his Grandma.   Even though we are so sad that Marie is gone, we were left with so many great memories of her.  I have always believed in guardian angels and how lucky we are to have another guardian angel looking out for us in Marie. 

Remembering Marie Wozniak

Sandy, Marie, & Rick at Grandma's Surprise 80th Birthday Party last year
Brad, Mandy, & Grandma at our Baby Shower this June

Meeting Eloise for the first time this October

Friday, December 7, 2012

Looking back: My Maternity Leave

Today is the last day official day of my maternity leave before the weekend.  I have been thinking about the last 3.5 months all week and decided and reliving it thru photos and text messages I've saved. I thought it would be fun to have a walk down memory lane...

I officially started my maternity leave at 4pm on Friday 8/24, which was my due date.  I remember thinking how weird it was that I wasn't going to get up on the following Monday morning and head to the VA as I have done every Monday for the past 4 years.  Honestly, I thought I would have had the baby by now.  That first week home was not what I thought it would be - I was 40+ weeks pregnant, it was roughly 90+ degrees outside, and I had nothing to do.  I went for my weekly doctor's appointment that Tuesday hoping that I would magically go into labor at the office.  My doctor came in the room saying, " are we feeling about induction?  We know that baby is fully cooked." I was relieved to know the end was in sight but also taken back by how I had to plan the birth of my daughter  in line with the upcoming holiday weekend, Labor Day.  As I sat in the recliner in the exam room getting my non stress test & ultrasound, I texted Brad, my mom, & my BFF Sarah that I was going to be induced on Thursday 8/30 at 7am.  I'll never forget Brad's text back, "Wow. ok."  After that appointment I went to Target - shocker.  I remember thinking that this would be the last "quick run into Target" for a while.  The next day is a blur.  I don't remember what I did but I do remember laying on the couch before going to bed enduring another round of the baby's hiccups and thinking how much I was going to miss feeling her move inside me...

Oh, contractions...

On Thursday 8/30, I woke up wondering whether I could eat some breakfast before being induced and decided to pass on breakfast until I could ask a nurse for permission.  With my hair done and freshly painted toes, we checked into the Labor & Delivery unit at Central Dupage Hospital at 7:15am.  I was instantly overwhelmed when we walked on the unit because all the staff turned and looked at us as we were walking in.  It was change of shift so there was twice the amount of people there.  It didn't take long to get settled in the birthing suite - hospital gown on, monitors hooked up, and Brad charging his Ipad.  About that breakfast, it was a no go.  They started the Pitocin at 7:45am and encouraged us to walk around the unit as much as possible.  It was like the Indy 500 - so many laps around the unit.  A little after noon, the doctor broke my water and the real fun started.  I asked for the epidural and when it was all said & done, it was hooked up by 2pm.  Then, you just wait for the "magic" to happen.  Around 8:45pm, I started shaking & shivering.  Brad goes to tell the nurse & doctor and they were thrilled because it meant I had transitioned to the next stage of labor.  Sure enough, I was 10cm dilated.  All I can say is that child birth is by far the hardest thing I've ever done.  I pushed for over 4 hours to get our little miracle into the world.  My epidural stop working at the peak of the action - not cool.  Props to women who deliver without any epidural.  At one point, I looked up and told Brad, "I know this is going to sound stupid but this is really hard." Brad was a superhero coach and got me through EVERY contraction & EVERY push.  I feel like that 4+ hours of pushing was a time warp but I'll never forget the last half hour or so.  My doctor was concerned with how long I had been pushing and basically threatened to do a C-section if I couldn't push her out in the next 30 minutes.   That sparked something inside me and according to Brad I "kicked it into high gear."  Like I was slacking before, right?  The nurses & doctor were so encouraging and when they told me I only had to push one more time, I couldn't believe it.   I'll never forget them telling me to open my eyes with that last push.  The next few moments were surreal and forever etched in my memory...that first cry...the feeling when they put her on my chest when she was merely seconds old...those big blue eyes staring back at me for the first time...

That first week home was hard to say the least.  Between the breastfeeding struggles, sleepless nights, and rough physical state that I was in - I thought it would never get better.  Thank God for my Mom coming over everyday to play baby nurse.  She helped me troubleshoot breastfeeding challenges, cooked lots of yummy food, and share lots of cuddles with Eloise.  Over the next few weeks, we had lots of visitors that stopped by with their arms full of food and gifts.  Every week things seem to get a little easier.  Slowly but surely I was figuring this whole motherhood thing out.  I kept wondering when I would start to feel normal again and it was probably at 6 weeks.  During that 6th week, I got my haircut and it truly helped snap me back to feeling human.  I remember the first time I went to Target with the baby and was so proud of myself that I could get everything on my list and still feel like I had time to wander the isles a little.  There were many days that I felt defeated when it came to nursing and felt like it was never going to get easier.  Like every breastfeeding mom knows, every little sign of weight gain is validation that you are doing something right.  Because of this, I'm obsessed with our bath tub that Brad picked out that weighs the baby and tells you the water temperature.  Even now, I weigh Eloise every night.  Eloise and I have a good routine now so much so that she tries to pull my shirt down for me when it is time to eat.  Now that Eloise is 14 weeks old, those first few weeks feel like a lifetime ago.  I feel so much more confident with breastfeeding and I'm actually going to miss it when I have to pump instead of nurse her during the day while I'm at work.  Little by little, we have figured out her cries and have our go-to things that we do to make her giggle or smile.  We truly have been blessed with a baby with a great temperament.

When I think about how to sum up my maternity leave, all these random phrases come to mind...

Pumping... Lots of "little bites" of food... Asking Questions... Cookies... Tank Tops & Zip-up hoodies... Tears... Mommy Blogs... Googling... Medela... Documenting... Timing... Texting... Nipple Cream... Speakerphone... Swaddling... Pacifier... Routines... Online Shopping... Singing Songs... Trial & Error... Laundry... Shopping trips with Clic & Go Stroller... Cuddles... Giggles... Love...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Baby Face Friday: 3 months

Weight: 14lbs 2oz
Height: 23-24 inches
Sleep: Mastering the sleep schedule little by little

What is Eloise doing?
Chewing on her hands & sucking on her fingers, 
Grabbing things with hands, 
Focusing on people & objects, 
Rolling on her side
Consistent laughing spells before bedtime routine.  We have named it the "7pm Giggles"

Highlights from this week

 2nd Generation Besties Hangout with oldest friends from Oak Forest
Thanks for the photos Anna!
Meet Jaxson Hullinger & Proud Papa Erik
Last Saturday, we made our 1st trip to Grandma Karen & Grandpa Kevin's for Thanksgiving celebration #3.  Grandma Karen has been looking forward to rocking Elli in the same rocker that she rocked all 3 of her kids in.  It still works, Elli fell asleep. 
 Grandpa Kevin picked out a fancy floor mat that Elli instantly loved & played on for a long time
1st trip to Hines VA to visit Mommy's coworkers & Grandma's too. 
Disclaimer: We have Girls Gone Wild situation because it was really hot in Grandma's office